Four Of Us Across Four Seas: RGS’s Circumnavigation Leaves Marmaris

The sailing route. Photos of the expedition participants
The sailing route. Photos of the expedition participants

The sailboat of the circumnavigation expedition of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society left the port of the Turkish resort of Marmaris on June 23 and headed for Istanbul. Now there are four people in the ship's crew – together with Evgeny Kovalevsky, Stanislav Berezkin, and Filip Alekseev, Russian Denis Gorbushin will go to Novorossiysk.

The circumnavigation arrived in Marmaris on June 17. During the few days spent in the city, the crew of the Russian Ocean Way sailboat managed to meet with representatives of the local Russian community as well as with yachtsmen from Russia and Kazakhstan. The travelers told them about the project "Following the paths of Russian explorers", the activities of the RGS, their adventures, and the countries they have already visited.

Ahead of the circumnavigators is a 495-mile journey to Istanbul. Then the sailboat will sail across four seas (Mediterranean, Aegean, Marmara, and Black) to Novorossiysk, where an extensive educational program is planned as part of the project. The events are already being prepared by the head of the coastal headquarters of the expedition, Yulia Kalyuzhnaya.

From Novorossiysk, Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin plan to continue sailing on an inflatable sailing catamaran. The new vessel is kindly provided by a member of the Tomsk Branch of the RGS, Ildar Mukharashev, who will become a temporary crew member on the way along the rivers of Russia. The ultimate goal of the circumnavigation is Kronstadt where travelers intend to reach before the end of summer 2024.

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Evgeny Kovalevsky and Denis Gorbushin. Photos of the expedition participants
Evgeny Kovalevsky and Denis Gorbushin. Photos of the expedition participants

“We are moving near the maritime border between Türkiye and Greece. Yachtsmen report that it is ‘strictly forbidden’ to enter Greek waters. The Greek Coast Guard immediately appears and heavily fines you. Therefore, we are following the course; Stas has laid out a difficult route. The watchman must keep to the course," said Evgeny Kovalevsky.

In the evening, a Turkish Coast Guard boat approached the sailboat. The guards demanded documents rather aggressively. The situation was quite troubling in terms of the weather: the sea was agitated, cool wind had risen, the boat was rocking in the drift.

“We are waiting for the check to end. It lasted half an hour. We were not detained. They say there are refugee boats in the area. They are being caught," Kovalevsky explained.

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A Turkish Coast Guard boat. Photos of the expedition participants
A Turkish Coast Guard boat. Photos of the expedition participants

Mountainous islands typical of the Mediterranean are visible all around. Some of them are inhabited by people, some of the peaks are decorated with navigation signs. It's summer, but it's cold at night. The wind is getting weaker one moment and stronger the other. The Turkish military checked the documents of the crew a couple more times. Everything is fine, the voyage continues.

On July 1, 2021, Siberian travelers Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin set off along the route of the first Russian round-the-world expeditions of the 19th century: Ivan Kruzenshtern’s (1803-1806), Yuri Lisyansky’s (1803-1806), Otto Kotzebue’s (1815-1818, 1823-1826), Vasily Golovnin’s (1817-1819), Fedor Litke’s (1826-1829), Faddey Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev’s (1819-1921). The international project of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society "Following the paths of Russian explorers" is dedicated to the 250th birthday anniversary of Krusenstern and the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian sailors. These events for a long time determined Russia's leadership in the development of the oceans and the discovery of new lands. You can learn more about the project and provide all possible assistance in its implementation on the website of the expedition.

Aleksander Zhirnov